bva found out today that the rumors are true which we have know for some time. Google will retire Postini, migrate features to Google Apps for all their 26 million users. Google has built the e-mail security and archiving features into two Google Apps products, which it will transition to customers next year. This will be an interesting transition and move over to a new platform.
The Web announced the transition today, saying that it has spent the last year building Postini’s features into Google Apps for Business, a professional suite, and Google Apps Vault, an e-mail archiving and discovery service.
“With this transition to Google Apps, you can receive similar email security, protection, and archiving, but through the more robust Google Apps service,” Google said in a company blog post. “Google Apps also works with mail servers such as Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes, so you don’t need to switch to Gmail.”
How customer services will transition:
Customers receiving information about the transition process at least 60 days before their migration is scheduled to begin. Customers who do not wish to transition to Google Apps will see their Postini service terminated at the end of their contract.
The service currently has about 26 million users. Google acquired Postini for $625 million in 2007.
Recently I was asked to perform a migration of a few users from their current Exchange Server 2003/2007 environment over to Google Apps. Although the migration process was fairly simple to execute, users quickly found that there were a few things lacking in the Google Apps offering.
I had users that were accustomed to the collaboration features that were very easy in Exchange, like contact and calendar sharing, which are not so easily done in Google Apps. Google Apps now provides an API to help accomplish contact sharing, however, I’m not a developer and neither are any of my users. That being said, I don’t think this is a viable option for us. The good news is that this API is relatively new, and maybe someone will develop something that is useful for sharing contacts – something that is easy for me and my users to implement.
The calendar sharing was much better, but also lacks an important function. When using the Outlook plugin (which allows you to use Outlook as your Google Apps client), the only way for a user to see another user’s calendar would be to grant full access to the calendar being shared. If the user does not have full access, they can only see free/busy information and not the appointments on the calendar.
As I said earlier, the migration process went really well, and there are several very good options for executing the migration. However, my users leveraged the power of Outlook and Exchange were left a little disappointed with Google Apps. If you have very simple email and calendaring needs, and are a smaller business operation, Google Apps may be just fine. If you are looking for an alternative for your in-house Exchange server, you might be happier looking into Microsoft’s Hosted Exchange solution.